Excelsior flyers hoping to gain their wings

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The three latest recruits in Excelsior Academy’s successful partnership with the Air League Trust and British Airways are reaching for the skies.

Katie Shaw, Andrew Moorhead and James Monteith have been selected for an intensive two-week training course next month at Northumbria Gliding Club, with the ultimate aim of flying solo in the skies above Northumberland and Tyneside.

The three budding Excelsior College pilots were selected from a group of ten Excelsior pupils who attended a taster day for the adventure ahead at British Airways’ stunning headquarters near Heathrow.

They toured the building and went through a selection process including an interview, which helped organisers arrive at the final three lucky participants.

The students were all keen to seize the rare opportunity to take the controls of a glider as part of a place on the elite Air League flying scholarship.

Registered charity the Air League Trust, supported by British Airways, has created a gliding scholarship and works with schools across the UK, including Excelsior Academy, to lift financial barriers and give teenagers the opportunity to learn to fly a glider solo and realise their own potential.

Katie, Andrew and James will embark on their two-week glider training from July 20, culminating in them taking the controls for a solo flight.

Lynn Aitchison, Excelsior College Director, said: “The gliding scholarship is the chance of a lifetime for Katie, Andrew and James to take the controls of an aircraft and fly it themselves.


We place great value on our partnership with the Air League Trust and British Airways as not only does it represent such a fantastic opportunity, but it also helps develop pupils’ self confidence and skills which are vital when they look to pursue their chosen careers.